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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Label : Prikosnovenie
Review by Stina
Russia’s Caprice have spent nine studio albums finding nuance in elvish fairy pop, sometimes inspired by the work of J. R. R. Tolkien. Now, they’re using their tenth studio effort to graciously yet vigorously steamroll over canonical conceptions of music, delivering their sound into a transporting, eccentric suite that gathers symphonic harmonies, sheer Prog brilliance, echoes of baroque memory, and Ethereal Voices into one sophisticated, wildly charming package. “Masquerade” is a work about poetry and expression of Art – and, just as Art is meant to do, it embraces an eclectic, unbridled flow that drips with passion and personality, orchestrated by the tender and agile soprano voice of Inna Brejestovskaya, whose mother-tongue lyrics transport the listener one century back in time, straight into the brighter and darker faces of the tangle between Russian history and Art: in this case, the Silver Age with its creative ecstasy and queries about Love and Beauty, counterbalanced by the shades of terror cast upon the population and the Artists by Lenin and Stalin’s rules. The title “Masquerade” was reportedly picked as an allusion to said times: ‘because in Stalin’s times people could only live and make art hiding under a mask’, but also to a playful and liberating conception of Art ‘Venetian masquerade with its glorious, festive atmosphere was an inspiration for many Russian poets’. And what makes “Masquerade” pulsate with life and vividness is how the clash of these opposites – most notably, the delight of creation and the fear of being crushed by the totalitarian machine – lends it dynamism and realism, together with a variety of mood and structures – sometimes smooth, other times uneven and with their full arc only becoming clear by track’s end. But the most effective way this dualism is mirrored is in the division of “Masquerade” in two chapters: the first half is centered on the pure joy of creation. From the fitting entrance point of the soft and ethereal soundscapes of “Reality”, on to the unconventional and meandering “Agnesa”, or even in the jaw-dropping proggy architectures of “To a Girl”, the emotional palette of the first half is one that contains nuances of euphoria, dreaminess, and rapture. With the cinematic, dark atmosphere of “The Master’s Shadow”, the second part starts on a more ominous and dark tone; from there, “Masquerade” remains deeply reverent of exuding the anguish inflicted by the totalitarian climate, and portraying the works, the lives – and, most notably, the deaths of five poets (Daniil Harms, Velimir Khlebnikov, Marina Tsvetaeva, Nikolai Gumilev, Anna Akhmatova, Vladimir Mayakovsky) that succumbed to those tragic circumstances. “What Have I Done to You” surfaces delicate and consuming feelings I fail to pinpoint with a name; “Listen!” is a sort of elegy about the hope of peace and relief after death, while the conclusive “Fox and Cockerel” tells of a poet who, totally deranged and maddened by fear, while being dragged to his execution laughs in the face of his executioner. The free and impassioned nature of the music makes it difficult to pinpoint references or influences behind the creation, and any sense of one-dimensional characterization is completely erased by Caprice’s ability to portray the manifold conceptual body that informs the record. As a whole, “Masquerade” is a compelling stroke of passionate, otherwordly genius.
Rating - 95/100
Label : Prophecy Productions
Review by Luisa Mercier
Nucleus Torn is a Swiss alternative/metal band that has a lot of influences: from folk to ambient, to prog to post-rock. The present recors is a kind of prequel for the trilogy that the band has released in the previous years formed by the albums “Nihil”, “Knell” and “Andromeda Awaiting”. The main mastermind is Fredy Schnyder and around him there have been many musicians. The line-up has changed a lot in the years. On “Golden Age” Maria D’Alessandro and Anna Murphy from Eluveitie sing. The title-track is also the opener and is an elegant, classy 12-minute acoustic/prog/folk track in which just the piano, the flute, the strings and the acoustic guitars can be heard while female and clean male vocals duet in a melacholic dialogue. Really beautiful, though not an easy song to listen to. “Hunger” is another acoustic song in which Anna Murphy delivers once again a moving vocal performance especially when backed by strings and drums. The song becomes epic and in the end the folk feeling is very apparent. Patrick Schaad is behind the mic on “Silver” together with female vocals. His soothing, warm performance makes this prog track even more fascinating. Just piano and strings, til now there was no hint of rock or metal. Distorted guitars appear on “Against” but there is no violence or harshness, they are 100% prog, somehow this track remembered me a mix of old Opeth and new Opeth, the ones from “Heritage”. “Ash” finally has metal/rock riffs, after an acoustic intro. I would rather call them post-rock riffs which alternate with calm moments and true metal style, you can even hear a solo! Last song is “Death Triumphant”, another very long song which mixes metal, post-rock, folk, prog and even jazz! A real listening experience. “Golden Age” is a complex record, one you want to listen to in the right mind setting, otherwise the risk is that you might find it boring. To tell the truth it is very well crafted and it deserves more than one listening session.
Rating - 80/100
Interview by Miriam “NocturnalConcerto”
Transcription by Luisa Mercier
Type on Google the words “The Devil’s Blood” and you’ll enter the magical, diabolical world of this mysterious act. I’ve started to listen to The Devil’s Blood thanks to an friend’s advice and I never stopped since then. I have had the chance to meet in person the mind of the band, Selim Lamouchi, during their second Italian gig of the The Devil’s Blood Special Release Tour on the 18 December 2011. Now I don’t want to play the exclusive cart and trying to tout the readers but I believe that I can say that is one of the rarest interviews that the band give, they prefer being mysterious and in some ways it’s one of the aspects because I love them .
First of all, thank you for the interview! For me it is an honur. Congratulations for the album, I really enjoyed it. So, would you like to introduce us the project?
The Devil’s Blood is a band that was started by me, mainly as a way to express certain revelations and certain insights I have gained. What I am trying to do is to re-create the journey, the things I have experienced, that I discovered about myself, about where my blood comes from, where the inspiration for the music comes from. All of this combined together becomes Devil’s Blood. Me and my sister are in this together. I am the main writer, but when comes to lyrics, it’s me and my sister combined. We started in 2007 and released a couple of demos, a seven inch and an EP.
“The Thousandfold Epicentre” really enchanted the media, you got a lot of fantastic reviews. So about this album, how was born, what was its genesis?
When we released our previous record, I was convinced that musically speaking I had nothing more to say, that there was no flow of ideas. In the months following the release, we did a lot of touring to Europe, America, Canada, and when it was finished, in 2010, I started thinking again of making music again. And very soon the genesis of this album came in the form of three songs I wrote which are the backbone of this record. The rest followed. It became very clear. After some months of writing, it became very clear where verything was going, more or less what was supposed to look like, to feel like. And the lyrics came too. So, the genesis is always the same, what is going on in my head needs to be translated.
We can say that you use The Devil’s Blood as a catharsis, is it right?
Perhaps, yes. There are a lot of better descriptions.
You have changed the line-up since the previous record, why?
It just happens, our drummer decided to quit because of family obligationd and a similar situation arose for our guitar player, But without sounding arrogant, I can say that the only people in the band we couldn’t play without are me and my sister. Everyone else just helps us to do what we do. And if they are not able to do this anymore, then they should be put aside. It’s not something that you want to happen.
Can you tell us something more about the title, what you wanted to express?
Not too much. I think it’s better that the people try to find out by themselves. The lyrics and the titleare as close to explaining myself as I can get , it’s very hard to find different words.“The Thousanfold Epicentre” is like a paradox, an impossibility, something that in our universe cannot exist. What I believe is that everything shall return back to the chaos, the darkness before time. In my opinion, that is a way to look at the title, but also at the entire album and the lyrics. But everyone is free to disagree with me. It’s not up to me what to say what they mean for you.
Everyone has his own interpretation of the album. I have with me a copy of your album, and I was curious to ask if the art of the booklet is related to the lyrics.
Most definetely, the artist was presented with demos of the songs and with lyrics. He listened to the music, read the lyrics and was inspired to create art. I never gave more information than those that were in the music and the lyrics. This is a very good example of someone who is able to channel the music into his psyche and express it in a new way. This is what happens when a person looks and listens with the right kind of eyes. Something that is hidden can become visible.
On the cover there is this inverted triangle with the omega inside. Can you explain a little?
It is the symbol of The Devil’s Blood, it is our seal.
A logo, as you see in most companies, is some kind of symbolism attached to what they are doing, to what they want to sell, it is expressed in a graphic form. It is something old as the world. The Pope in Rome has a seal, the keys. So this is our seal; there are certain components of what The Devil’s Blood stands for, why was created and it was translated into a graphic image. This image is used to focus all elements because it symbolizes not only our link to our music, but also symbolizes the music link to where we come from. That is chaos. We have it on the back of the stage, and all the energy that is directed to us gets pushed back to that. What we receive from you, it is immediately sacrificed to that. We are just people, we are part of the ritual as anyone else.
In the last years there’s a certain revival of psychedelic music, for example you and Blood Ceremony. Have you an idea about this revival?
To be honest, I never considered us psychedelic, we play rock and roll.
I don’t agree with this definition either, but magazines label you this way. For example Nightwish, Epica are labelled as “femme metal”, but for me that is not a genre. It’s only a way to say that there is a girl singing. It is ok to say that they play symphonic metal.
I understand the point, but I think that for journalists is easier. When I was younger there was this explosion of music from Seattle and people were talking about the Seattle sound. I listened to Nirvana, Soundgarden to Alice in Chains and they were talking about grunge, the Seattle sound, but those three bands had nothing to do with each other. Music is music, there are only two kinds of music: music that you like and music that you hate. There’s nothing in between. I understand that for journalists is easier to put The Devil’s Blood and file them with Blood Ceremony and I don’t care. We don’t hang out, we don’t even know each other. I know that what I am doing is what I am doing. There is no connection. I have much more in common with bands like Watain, because they are brothers, I know what they are doing, why they are doing and we don’t make the same music. If for journalists is easier to put everything into the same category, go ahead, I don’t care.
Sometimes a band reputation can be ruined by categorization but mine is just a fan point of view…
I think that in the end only a person can decide, the fan, the fan point of the view is the one that only really matters. The problem with the way some journalists work is that they create an atmosphere where you can be trendy or not trendy. The Devil’s Blood is not a band that was created to become trendy. Not even in a million year, I expected to become what I am today. When we started, nobody cared, so this gave us the motivation to continue or work hard, to be professional and to become better at what I do.
I think that journalists act in a wrong way…
Usually they act in a wrong way.
For example, when I listen to a Theatre of Tragedy record from 1996, one of my favourite, is not because it is the trend. Music is music. We are not stylists…
Unfortunately this is the way the world works.
Yours is a pretty little lovely label. So I have noticed that there is a new “trend” to print again in vinyl…especially among the small labels.
It is very simple, if the label does not work with vinyl, I do not work with the label, because I hate CDs. CDs are a bad products, they useually end up broke. Vinyl is always very nice. It sounds better, it feels better, there is a better chance to get a good artwork. More chance to engage people, it is a ritual. It is a small thing but it is an important thing.
I was surprised when I asked tour merch girl if she sold more cds or vinyls, she said me more vinyls.
I think people want a good product. Something that you can enjoy in every aspect, something that makes an impact and this tells you that the label cares about the music as the band itself. This is the reason why we are with them and not with others.
You manager told me that you are requested by all labels, but I think that The Devil’s Blood need a small label because the music needs to be worked in the smaller details. Maybe a larger label can give you a lot of promotion but in a small label you are the focus.
To me is not a matter of small or big, the point is that I want to work with someone that is interested in doing something that is worth. When we started, I had been in the music business for a while, been dealing with labels and sharks and sometimes even the smaller labels are complete assholes. Not only Nuclear Blast, Roadrunner or Century Media will fuck you, trust me, I have been there. We will never pay for one day of studio time, if you want to release our record, so give me the money. I have invested years of my life into reharsal, study, not only musical study but also spiritual study. I have sacrificed my blood for this music, my life, everything. If you think it is something that you want to work with, you make the sacrifice too. Van records sent me an e-mail out of the blue becuase they were working with a black metal from Holland, fan of ours…anyway they told me: I know there is no way I will keep you as band because one day you will be signed by a big label , but just give the chance to work with you for a seven inch. I thought: this guy seems sincere. So we went to him, drank a beer. I told him. We have no money, no plans, we have nothing, we have songs and if you can work in these circumstances then we can work with you. Since that day we become friends, brothers at war, without him nothing of what we do would be possible. Everything he has is in this record.
Any plans for the future, DVD, live album, things like that?
Not really, I have the belief that you should never plan. Life is too short to plan too far away. Now the record is finished but two years ago I would have told you that there wouldn’t have been a new record. So now I can tell you that there will be a third record, maybe yes, maybe not. At least now we are touring for this one, we are doing our best to spread our word as far as we can retaining our self-respect, our principles, I am pretty sure we will succed at whatever we do. We are open to all possibilities, never say never. It is a cliché but it is the truth, I am young but I have already learned that life has a way for fucking all your plans. If you are not able to deal with that then you go under. One of my favourite author, Hunter Thompson, who wrote “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” said he spent a long time of his life fighting the system which is a noble thing to do in any case. It only gave him scars so maybe it is better to go with the system and use it for your advantage. You have to fight your battles and learn what are worthwhile. Make sure that your opportunities are there and you are able to take them.
Band photo by Sandra Ludewig
Label : Ravenheart Music
Review by Tony Cannella
It is rare when a band releases a “retrospective” compilation after only releasing one album. It’s unheard of in fact. Well, that is what U.K. based Gothic metal band Apparition has done with “Ghosts of the Past: The Story So Far”. In all fairness Apparition released their debut album “Drowned in Questions” in 2006, and I am not sure if this album still available. So, “Ghosts of the Past…” is an album that allows new fans to get up to speed and entices older fans with previously unreleased material. Ever since Apparition’s inception they have had many line-up changes with bassist David Homer being the only original member. It is good to see that the band soldiers on after a few years of silence following their debut. The first of three unreleased songs, “The Dream Where I Cannot Go” opens the album. I loved this song and it is easily my favorite of the new songs. Sure it’s a melancholic sort of love song – or maybe it’s a song about longing for love – in any event the female vocalist and newest member Samantha Smallwood sings her heart out on this song and it just gave me chills, she is amazing. Next is the pure metal-ness of “I Don’t Know” from the band’s debut “Drowned in Questions”. Next up is another heavy one, the ‘demo’ version of “Elysium”. Since “Elysium” isn’t on their first album, I am assuming it was on an earlier demo? But I could be wrong. Still, this song absolutely kills, and it also features some male Goth-like vocals near the end (sorta like Peter Steele). Another unreleased track “Salvation” follows and it is another forlorn ballad-ish type song, that also has some heavy parts but maintains a mid-tempo pace throughout and the orchestration only enhances the song. Four songs from the debut are next and are followed by the final unreleased song “The Path to Eternity”. This is a 9-minute epic that tends to drag a bit, but it is still a really good song. The demo version of “Traitors Gate” and the piano version “The Dream Where I Cannot Go” brings “Ghosts of the Past…” to its conclusion, although I think I prefer the electric version of “The Dream Where I Cannot Go”, but this track is still buoyed by Samantha’s great vocals.. I always have a difficult time grading albums, and this one was harder than most since half of it was material that has already been released, I decided to give “Ghosts of the Past…” a 90 based on the new material. Since this album was released in 2010 and very little has been heard from the Apparition camp I certainly hope that Apparition still exists because the new music and line-up certainly should give their fans some optimism about where the band is headed musically.
Rating - 90/100
Label : Nuclear Blast Records
Review by Tony Cannella
The band Therion has been in existence since 1987. In that time they have continued to evolve and progress into one of the leading Avant-Garde, Symphonic metal bands ever. The band has gone through a myriad of line-ups with the one constant force being Christopher Johnsson. Therion return with their newest symphonic metal experience, “Sitra Ahra”, and the band continues their evolution and growth on their new output. Where to begin? There is a lot to sift through on “Sitra Ahra”, which is the case on most Therion albums. I suppose the thing that always fascinated me about Therion, is just the hugeness of their sound, and that absolutely holds true on “Sitra Ahra”. Joining Mr. Johnsson for this album are three singers, Snowy Shaw and Thomas Vikström provide the male vocals, while Aesma Daeva singer Lori Lewis is the female vocalist. There is no denying that the scope on “Sitra Ahra” is simply huge. Songs like “Sitra Ahra”, “Kings of Edom”, the 10-minute “Land of Canaan”, the all-out metal fury of “Din” and the 7-minute closer, “After the Inquisition: Children of the Stone” all represent where Therion is headed in 2010 and beyond. Female vocalist Lori Lewis provides an operatic style to the songs, while the male vocals alternate between traditional metal singing and a more extreme, gothic style. Featuring a playing time of an hour, Therion always manage to keep things interesting and moving along at a rapid pace. It is amazing to me how Therion continually are able to produce such good quality material after all these years. With “Sitra Ahra”, Therion has delivered quite an epic piece of work and a worthy addition to their legacy.
Rating - 90/100
Label : Lion Music
Review by Tony Cannella
Mastermind are a progressive rock/metal band from New Jersey. The band was originally formed in 1986 by the Berends Brothers (Bill & Rich). Their newest release titled “Insomnia” is the bands seventh release, but it is their first new material since 2000’s “Angels of the Apocalypse”. “Insomnia” also marks the debut of new vocalist Tracy McShane. Obviously, 10-years is a long time to go between albums and many long time fans were wondering if Mastermind even existed anymore. Thankfully, with the release of “Insomnia” the band not only still exists, but they are better than ever. From the opening track “Desire”, fans of the band will feel like they are being re-visited by an old friend. The vocals of Tracy McShane are perfect for the band and she is a good fit. “Break Me Down”, “One More Night” and “No Answer” are three more highlights. One of my favorite tracks on the new opus is the aggressive “Piggy World”. This is just a great up-tempo track with lyrics that I think we can all relate to at times. I found myself hitting the ‘replay’ button a few times on this one. The band members are allowed to shine on the instrumental “Night Flier” and the 9-minute closing number “Last Cigarette” is a great way to end things. The band still maintains it’s progressive element that the old fans will love, but the songs on “Insomnia” have a definite accessibility factor that are sure to attract new fans. “Insomnia” is an impressive release from a band that have been away for far too long. The addition of Tracy McShane on vocals was a good one as she definitely adds a new dimension, attitude and swagger to the band. Overall, “Insomnia” is a good release that is a worthy follow-up to “Angels of the Apocalypse”. Fans of quality prog music should definitely give this band a listen.
Rating - 85/100
Label : Napalm Records
Review By Tony Cannella
It is hard to believe that the long running Austrian Symphonic Power Metal Band Edenbridge, released their debut album way back in 2000. Now, 10-years later they are back with their 7th studio album, “Solitaire”. Edenbridge has certainly managed to evolve and progress throughout their career and with “Solitaire”, Lanvall, Sabine Edelsbacher and crew continue to move forward, while still maintaining all of the elements that has garnered the band such a loyal following over the years. Beginning with the ultra-symphonic intro, “Entrée Unique”, Edenbridge proves that they are in fine form as“Solitaire” kicks in. The first single/video (you can view it at their official YouTube) is “Higher” and it was a solid choice of songs to make a video for. “Skyline’s End” is perhaps my favorite song on this CD and would make a great choice for a second video. The band do a fantastic job of mixing their symphonic style with heavy and powerful guitar riffs, a perfect example of this the fast tempo track, “Further Afield”. Other highlights include: “Bon Voyage Vagabond”, “Come Undone” and “A Virtual Dream”, a fast paced track that is driven by the always stellar guitar/vocal combination of Lanvall and Sabine Edelsbacher. With “Solitaire”, Edenbridge have released an album is quite possibly the finest and most consistent of their already impressive career. To say something is the best is simply subjective, but I am quite confident that fans of this Austrian band will love “Solitaire”.
Rating – 90/100
Label : Sensory Records
Review By Tony Cannella
From Greece comes the avant-garde metal band Dakrya. On their impressive 2008 debut, “Monumento”, Dakrya proved to be a difficult band to categorize and the same holds true on their new album “Crime Scene”. The bands style and influences are wide ranging and they manage to incorporate it all in a metal framework.Dakrya are a band that really does not set any boundaries or limitations on themselves and that much is certain on “Crime Scene”. The opening intro of “The Charlatans” kicks things off. This song is actually a straight-forward metal track, with a powerful guitar riff running throughout the duration of the song. “Blind Man’s Bluff” is a great sounding second track, as female vocalist Christina Kalantzi really stretches her vocal range throughout this one and this track also features a number of cool tempo changes. With all that is going on throughout their songs, Dakrya still manages to inject heavy doses of melodicism – which is always a plus in my book. Other songs worth checking out: “Scare Mongering”, the bombastic “The Urban Tribe”, “Camouflage” and “Phantasmagoria”. With “Crime Scene”, Dakrya has released an album that is both adventurous and challenging but in the end, the payoff is well worth it.
Rating – 80/100